Students from Stanford are protesting against smartphone addiction.
The Stanford Students Against Addictive Devices (SSAAD) protested on Saturday outside the Palo Alto Apple store on University Avenue. According to the fliers distributed by SSAAD, Apple has failed to take the necessary steps towards curbing technology addiction.
SSAAD believes that because Apple devices are “our gateway to addictive services,” such as Facebook, Apple has the social responsibility to help curb phone addiction. The student group suggests that Apple starts being transparent with usage patterns, giving users more control over notifications, and giving users more modes to reduce distraction. SSAAD also encourages iPhone users to join the battle by reaching out to Apple and request these features.
“We felt that this is the kind of change that a lot of consumers have to demand before Apple takes sustained action,” said one student, Sanjay Kannan, about the protest. “We did some research into how prevalent the problem was, and we realized that 50 percent of teens are addicted to their phones, and 69 percent of adults check their phone hourly.”
The student-led protest comes just a few months after Apple was under fire after an open letter was published asking Apple to take initiative against technology addiction.
Earlier this year, two major Apple shareholders published an open letter calling on the company to do more to curb technology addiction. Representatives from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the investment firm Jana Partners LLC published an open letter urging Apple to address the “growing body of evidence” that suggests frequent use of digital devices can lead to addictive behavior.
The letter cites several recent studies conducted by universities, medical centers, and mental health whose findings suggest that children who often use smartphones or digital devices are more likely to be distracted in school, sleep less at night, and develop depression.
On January 9, an Apple representative addressed the letter in a statement to Business Insider. “Apple has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online,” the Apple representative said. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.”
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